BI intercepts suspected human trafficking victim at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020   •   782

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have rescued a suspected human trafficking victim attempting to depart the country.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the female passenger was intercepted at the NAIA Terminal 1 on March 6 while she was attempting to board a flight to Singapore.  

Morente said the victim, whose name was withheld for her protection, was initially referred for verification to the on-duty immigration supervisor, as she attempted to enter the airport departure area.

“The supervisor noticed that the stamps on the passenger’s passport and boarding pass were spurious. Upon further verification, they have discovered that the stamp used was not a registered stamp,” he said.

The passenger later confessed that she did not undergo immigration inspection, and that she was intending to travel to Dubai for work under a job application with a certain agent named “Rency”.

“She was instructed to meet the agent at a fast food chain in the airport’s departure area. The agent got a hold of her passport and boarding pass, and gave them back to her with fake stamps,” BI Intelligence Division Chief Fortunato Manahan, Jr. said.

Manahan added that human traffickers would affix fake stamps in the passengers’ passports and boarding passes, so that their victims, when asked by authorities, could pretend they have already undergone the required immigration departure formalities.

“Since human traffickers could not provide the passengers with proper documents to work abroad, this is their cheap attempt to get their victims to evade immigration inspection,” he said.

The victim has been endorsed to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking for proper assistance in filing a criminal complaint against her recruiter, the BI said.

The bureau also reiterated its advise for the public to only transact with registered and licensed recruitment agencies to avoid falling prey to illegal recruiters.

Foreign kin of Filipinos need not present entry exemption docs starting August 1

Marje Pelayo   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Starting August 1, foreign spouses, children and parents of Filipino citizens who are traveling to the Philippines as tourists to visit their kin will no longer be required to present an entry exemption document (EED).

This new policy is in compliance with the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) which eased the entry travel requirements for foreigners related by marriage or filiation to Filipinos.

Under the new IATF resolution, foreign spouses, children and parents of Filipinos will only be required to present 9(a) tourist visas beginning on Saturday.

However, the IATF instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to include in the visa of said aliens the notation: “EED not required per IATF Resolution No. 128 (s.2021).”

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, foreigners whose Filipino spouses and children are currently in the Philippines will be able to easily visit and reunite with their loved ones.

Previously, these aliens were allowed entry into the Philippines only if they have valid 9(a) tourist visas as well as an EED issued by the DFA through its various embassies or consulates abroad.

Those who fail to secure and present either one of the two documents are excluded and turned back upon arrival at the ports of entry.

The BI chief stressed that the new travel guidelines apply only to foreigners who are not accompanied by their Filipino spouses or Filipino parents when going to the Philippines.

“Foreigners who are traveling with their Filipino spouses or parents are eligible for the Balikbayan program and they may be admitted visa-free for a one-year stay,” Morente said.

He explained that those who are not traveling with their Filipino principal must apply for a 9(A) tourist visa from a Philippine consulate abroad, which they would use for entry to the Philippines.

Immigration Bureau bars entry of passengers from 10 countries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — After Malacañang’s directive, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced expanding the entry ban of passengers which will include those coming from Malaysia and Thailand starting July 25 until July 31.

The two countries are now added to the eight countries that are temporarily banned entry to the Philippines to prevent the further spread and community transmission of emerging COVID-19 variants.

The other countries covered by the travel ban are India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Indonesia.

“Foreigners arriving from said countries or with a travel history there within the last 14 days will be denied entry and will immediately be sent back to their port of origin,” according to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

However, the BI official said that Filipinos arriving from these countries as part of repatriation efforts will be allowed entry but will be subjected to set protocols by other government agencies.

He also clarified that those who are already in transit and will be arriving before July 25 will be allowed entry, but will be required to undergo a strict 14-day facility-based quarantine. AAC

BI intercepts OFW with fake identity in Clark International Airport

Marje Pelayo   •   July 13, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported an incident involving a Filipino worker who was set to leave for Doha, Qatar using a fake identity.

The BI withheld the victim’s identity in compliance with current anti-trafficking laws.

The BI said the victim attempted to depart via Qatar Airways flight No. QR 931 at the Clark International

Airport on Saturday (July 10) to work as a household service worker (HSW) in Doha, Qatar.

Based on reports from Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) Officers Johnel Badua and Marc Danes Diego, the victim was referred for secondary inspection after noticing inconsistencies in her statements in the initial inspection.

She claimed to be 27 years old but provided numerous inconsistencies in her story when asked for personal details.

She eventually gave her real name and admitted that she is only 24 years old, leading BI officers to suspect that the woman is a victim of human trafficking.

“These human traffickers go as far as providing their victims documents that assume the identity of others. This has to stop, ” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Morente added that intercepted human trafficking victims are immediately referred to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for further investigation of their recruiters, as well as to provide assistance in filing cases against them.

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